LinkedIn Lead Generation: What NOT to Do!

By Nigel Cliffe

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“I can generate you 5 new clients a week”

What a con!

The above image shows my Invitations inbox right now. Full of auto lead generators on LinkedIn.

There is a thing called ‘Lead Generation on LinkedIn’ of which I am very proud. It is the sort that understands the nature of building trust in your personal brand. Offering value and guidance, sharing knowledge.

It cannot be created by auto-generating LinkedIn Connection Requests and calling a 20% conversion rate “a good day”!

I’ve written before about my support for Autoban and I would like to reiterate my support for it. The #Autoban campaign is an attempt, by those of us who train and consult on LinkedIn, to deter the people who think they can automate their LinkedIn success.

Please, please, don’t be fooled by these ‘get rich quick’ LinkedIn lead generation schemes that promise to deliver you hundreds of amazing leads like the ones in my LinkedIn invitations inbox.

Genuine relationships are built little by little, adding trust to your personal brand over time. There is no quick fix, no free lunch.

I much prefer to see Invitation requests that are accompanied by personal messages – NOT sales pitches, but short messages that the person wanting to Connect with me has taken the time and effort to craft. If I see a message that explains why a new contact would like to Connect, where they know me from or how they can either help me or I can help them I’m much more likely to hit ‘Accept’!

Indeed, my Connection, Marketing Consultant, Stefan Drew pointed out that if you reply with a question to these automated Connection requests, who promise to deliver brilliant LinkedIn lead generation for you, they never reply (because they are automated) which is why he rejects 80-80% of Connection requests.

Co-founder of WeWhoDo & 5loyalty, Russell Phillippe, asked if there was any logic in Connecting with people that send these templated sales Connection request messages, even if it’s just to expand your second-degree network by gaining access to the Connections of the person who sent you the templated sales message.

The answer?



Because who you’re Connected to effects the content that appears in your LinkedIn ‘newsfeed’. If you’re Connected with genuine people who are active and consistently post content that is relevant and helpful to you on LinkedIn, your experience of the platform will be better.

I’ve shared before the criteria I use to determine if I accept an invitation to Connect request on LinkedIn. My LinkedIn Connections have also shared ways in which they decide whether or not to accept random Connections requests, including:

  • Checking if you have a lot of mutual Connections – if you do, you’re likely to be like-minded people and get on professionally if you move in the same circles.
  • Checking if they work in the same industry or geographical area to you – if they do, not only do you have something in common, but you may even be able to refer work to each other. These days, rather than there being fierce competition, many professionals refer work to those in their field, if they feel their peers would be a better fit for a certain project or client than themselves.
  • Checking if the request from an unknown person has a templated sales message with it – the majority of people can tell a templated sales message from a mile off, and it’s an immediate turn off for most.

Can I apologise on behalf of all those con artists to all us genuine people who will succeed in bringing out the best in LinkedIn, and not the worst?

Join the revolution – LinkedIn relationships strategy based on trust – let’s weed them out!

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